GameCube emulators

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Revision as of 03:09, 10 January 2016 by 66.249.82.138 (talk) (Emulators: Added libretro column, though it's not functioning)
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The Nintendo Gamecube (GCN)

The GameCube (GCN) is a 2001 console produced by Nintendo. Due to how similar the architecture is between the GameCube, Triforce and Wii, many GameCube emulators offer support for them.

The Triforce is an arcade system board developed jointly by Namco, Sega, and Nintendo, with the first games appearing in 2002. The system hardware is based on the Nintendo GameCube with several differences, like provisions for add-ons such as Sega's GD-ROM system and upgradeable RAM modules.

Due to having very similar (albeit more powerful) hardware, the Wii is able to natively play GameCube games rather than emulating them.

Emulators

PC
Name Operating System(s) Latest Version GCN Wii Triforce Libretro Core Recommended
Dolphin Multi-platform GIT *
Dolphin (Nintendo) Windows e2.8
Gekko Windows, Linux SVN

*WIP, currently non-functioning

Mobile
Name Operating System(s) Latest Version GCN Wii Triforce Recommended
Dolphin Android GIT

Comparisons

  • Dolphin is the only real emulator you should use; Gekko is still in very early development after being on hiatus for many years, and is nowhere near achieving Wii emulation either. In addition, for Triforce emulation, MAME is not optimised for 3D systems yet, nor is the emulation of the system in question very good either. Dolphin is updated on a near daily basis and has very good emulation of almost everything. System requirements are high, moreso for Wii games than GameCube.
  • Ishiiruka-Dolphin is a custom unofficial branch of Dolphin optimized for low-end hardware, yet potentially missing features compared to the main branch. Its most important features are:
    • Full DirectX9/11 support
    • Async shaders (Under Graphics/Hacks): removes slowdown and stuttering when new effects appear on the screen, but may cause FIFO resets (which can cause slowdown and crashes) in some cases like F-Zero GX and Metroid Prime. Options from fastest to most-compatible are:
      • Full Async Shader Compilation
      • Full Async Shader Compilation + Predictive FIFO
      • Predictive Fifo
      • Predictive Fifo + Wait For Shader Compilation
    • DSP time stretch (Under Sound): it avoids audio stuttering by stretching the audio instead when the game doesn't run at full speed on low-end hardware.
  • Dolphin (Nintendo) is an official emulator by Nintendo of the same name as the recommended Dolphin emulator. The two are unrelated; the official Nintendo emulator does not run commercial games.

Running BIOS

If you want to open games through the GameCube's original BIOS in Dolphin, first make sure the external framebuffer is enabled, the sound to be set to LLE, and uncheck "skip bios" in the GameCube options. When the game window opens and the GCN startup animation begins, click File then Change Disc. You can pick literally any file, including the game you initially chose. When the intro ends, it will go into the GameCube's menu instead of the game. You can then switch to whatever game you really wanted to play with Change Disc, or explore the BIOS.

Connectivity

  • The GC/GBA Link feature is partially emulated. You'll need to enable DSP-LLE, along with the files ripped from a real GC for that, as well as VBA-M (see the GBA emulator page for more details). That said, e-Reader support isn't implemented, neither is the DS/Wii Wi-Fi connection.

Triforce Arcade Board

The Triforce is an arcade system board developed jointly by Namco, Sega, and Nintendo, with the first games appearing in 2002. The system hardware is based on the Nintendo GameCube with several differences, such as provisions for add-ons such as Sega's GD-ROM system and upgradeable RAM modules. Wii emulators can also play Triforce games.

You'll need the Triforce branch of Dolphin. The main branch doesn't even emulate it.

However, compatibility is abysmal and there are lots of unemulated features preventing the games from even booting without patches like in the case of both Mario Kart GP games (obviously thus requiring "Enable Cheats"). Check the Dolphin Wiki for more info. Various features including the NamCam camera, the save transfer functionality, and the multiple Triforce board networking, are simply not emulated.

For the games that do emulate with Dolphin Triforce (that is, the Mario Kart GP games and little else):

  • Under "Config/GameCube" (or more recently "Controllers"), "SP1" and "Port 1" need to be assigned to "AM-Baseboard".
  • "Enable Cheats" must be activated. Mario Kart GP1 and GP2 have patch codes that need to be added to their gameini file to fix the showstopping emulation bugs and to change the coins value to something else than 0, to play it at all.
  • The keys used are the same as the GameCube controls in Dolphin. The Z button supposedly emulates "Insert Coin", but it doesn't seem to work.

Resources

  • Dolphin Wiki - For checking if you games work and any fixes/tweaks/settings you should know before hand.